I sometimes think that the ravens own Iceland and humans are allowed to live there only with their permission.
This being Iceland, there are of course plenty of folk tales about ravens. Odin kept two ravens, Hugin and Munin, who served as scouts for him, flying off to gather intelligence. Ravens predict death or weather changes; one even led a girl away from a landslide. Some grandmothers can converse with them.
I visited the town of Saudárkrókur, on a research trip for The Wanderer, in November. There was snow on the ground. The police station is in Church Square, and the whole time I was there, two ravens circled and croaked, often perching on the church tower (see photo above). They owned the town. I had to put them in the book.
I always show the first draft of my books to an Icelander to weed out the mistakes, and I gave The Wanderer to the author Lilja Sigurdardóttir. The book takes place in August, and Lilja told me that ravens only come into town in the winter when they were hungry. It would be very strange to see them in town in August, but if they were there, the local inhabitants would believe that they were foretelling a death. Which was perfect.
This being one of my books, the ravens were pretty much correct.
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